Several years ago, I lived by the ocean. You would think that it would be idyllic, right? But I found that the corrosive element of the salt air did odd things: It wilted celery I’d bought in the morning, turning it to a noodle-like substance by sunset. Salt air, literally, ate through a lovely brass plate I’d kept in a box in the garage.
It was also an unexpected setting for a new song. In 2008, there was an awful massacre in Mumbai – a bomb blast in a Chabad Center, a place to service the needs of the entire community. A young rabbi and several others who worked there were murdered.
I was shaken by this and wanted to sit among other Jews, somewhere, in order to mourn this awful occurance. I found a synagogue in Ventura County that was led by a young rabbi who, as it turned out, had been the best friend of the rabbi murdered in Mumbai.
The congregation sat there, an instant community, connected once more by wrenching anguish. This young leader told about his friend, the rabbi, the rabbi’s wife and their vision to do good – to do God’s work of Tikkun Olam, to help repair the world. He continued by asking us, “How do we carry on? Do we meet such darkness as this with more darkness? No,” he said. “God commands us to bring more light into the world. More light!”
And so I went home, and that afternoon I wrote a Chanukah song, “Let There Be More Light.” I actually listened to Jose Feliciano’s delightful “Feliz Navidad” to study the number of repetitions, to see if there were modulations to consider. I wanted to write something simple to sing and to remember.
“Let There Be More Light, Let There Be More Light
Not just for eight nights, but everyday of your life….”
The music video is produced in partnership with StandWithUs
StandWithUs is a non-profit Israel educational organization, dedicated to shining light on the facts and prejudices about the Arab-Israeli conflict in order to promote peace in the region. Although I don’t know all of the work Stand With Us does, I do appreciate their pro-Israel position, and that their Israeli offices employ Israelis and Palestinians alike.